Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)
Because I could not stop for death-
He kindly stopped for me-
The carriage held but just ourselves-
We slowly drove-he knew no haste
And had put away
My labor and my leisure too.
For his civility-
We passed the school where children played,
At Recess-in the Ring-
We passed the fields of Gazing Grain-
We passed the setting sun.
Or rather-He passes Us-
The Dews drew quivering and chill-
For only Gossamer, my gown-
My Tippet-only Tulle-
We paused before a House that seemed
A swelling of the ground-
The roof was scarcely visible-
The cornice-in the Ground-
Since then-'Its centuries-and yet
feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward Eternity-
Death-as-Lover came to take the Lady-poet to Heaven. She confessed that she was busy with life and going on her own way. Death-as was kind and good enough to stop to pick her up. He came in a carriage. But he was not alone. There was a silent partner, Immortality. They stopped just for a short moment. Then the three took seats in the carriage. The journey began with Death and Immortality. There was courtliness in their behaviour. The Lady-poet joined them happily.
Death conducted the journey in a highly admirable way. The three in the carriage rode off slowly, Death who was driving the horses was not in a hurry. He showed all consideration for the poetess's feelings. Immortality was seated on the rear seat. There was civility in Death's behaviour. The presence of Immortality sanctified the relationship between Death and Lady. The Lady-poet was convinced that the journey into darkness would have an honourable end. She left behind the life of stress and strain. She was happy with leisurely pace she was being take away.
The three riders passed through the activites of life and scenes of Nature. They saw school children during the recess struggling in the Ring. They passed fresh grain fields looking at them. At last the carriage completed the day's journey and they found the sun setting. In other words, the corpse was physically being carried through the town to the outlying fields. The soul finally crossed the barriers of the temporal time. The mind reviwd its post life-childhood, schooling, the ripeneesof maturity and finally the darkening red of the evening age.
Lady-poet realized that she was not well-prepared for the journey into the coldness and darkness of Death. In fact, the riders did not reach the end where sun was setting. The brought old age and invitation to death in the life of Lady-poet. The warmth and vitality of life was left behind. The approach of Death brought coldness and darkness. Lady-poet was frighteningly aware of how inadequate her preparation for the journey in to the darkness had been. She was wearing only a gown which offered no protection form the cold.
She felt cheated. At last the journey ended and the carriage stopped before a house. The riders got down. But the house offered no chamber. it was only a gave-a littleraised platfrom on the ground. The roof was invisible. The ornamental moulding of the wall was below the ceilling in the ground. In other words, Lady-poet became aware of the reality of death. Which snapped all links with life and gave Lady-poet a grave-yard tomb for a chamber.
Lady-poet reviewd the experience of Death, with end of the journey Death departed. He had snapped the bride's all relations with life. The change from worldy reality to the new dimension of limitless time was felt. it appeared the passage of centuries though it was a period shorter than day. for the first time i.e. at the end of the trip, Lady-poet realised the opening of another region. The heads of the horses turned towards 'eternity.' Death had preformed the role of bringing out the separation between Lady-poet (man's) earthly existence and the expanse of infinity. the grave housed the body and Immortality claimed the soul.